“The Circus,” a two-part film from American Experience, premiered on CPTV on in October 2018. The film explores the colorful history of this popular American form of entertainment and is available to stream for a limited time here>>

Learn even more about circus history — and particularly one figure who looms large in that history: Connecticut native P.T. Barnum — with the two-part podcast from Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward. Stream both episodes of the podcast below.

In Part 1, “Barnum’s Circus: How the Greatest Showman Made the Circus the Greatest Show 0n Earth,” follow the story of P.T. Barnum, from his entry into the circus business in 1870, through its merger to become Barnum & Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth,” to its final transformation into the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Hear interviews with Connecticut authorities on Barnum, experts involved with American Experience’s “The Circus” documentary, and interviews with participants in the 2018 Circus Historical Society Convention. They provide a look at the significance of the circus in American society, Barnum’s unique contributions to the development of circuses and mass culture, and his profound legacy for American culture in the 21st century.

Stream “Barnum’s Circus: How the Greatest Showman Made the Circus the Greatest Show 0n Earth” below. Subscribe to the podcast here »

In Part 2, “Barnum’s Connecticut,” explore Barnum’s lifelong ties to his home state. Barnum was deeply enmeshed in the life, politics, and culture of Connecticut. Learn about all the places and ways Barnum’s influence was felt in Connecticut, and the many ways he is still remembered in the Nutmeg State.

Featuring Barnum Museum Director Kathy Maher, Old State House Executive Director Sally Whipple, and an international group of Barnum scholars, “Barnum’s Connecticut” takes listeners on a tour of Connecticut’s most important Barnum-related places. Plus, learn about the surprising impact “the Greatest Showman” had on Connecticut society outside of the entertainment business.

Stream “Barnum’s Connecticut” below. Subscribe to the podcast here »

Funding for this podcast series provided by UConn Health.

Hear more from Walter Woodward about the life of P.T. Barnum!
Stream three new video shorts about Barnum’s life and legacy below.